77 percent of Bulgarians believe that the country is not governed “according to the will of the people” (whatever that means).
Only 17 percent take the opposite position.
This is shown by data from the international comparative study “At the end of the year” of the Gallup International Association. The Democracy Survey covers 45 countries around the world and about 42,000 adult citizens – representing about two-thirds of the world’s population. The data are from the time before the war in Ukraine, but are generally up to date, according to Gallup International. For Bulgaria, they mainly take into account the mood at the end of 2021, when voting was held three times in parliamentary elections and once in presidential elections.
Our population is traditionally among the most critical of the democratic nature of its government as a whole. Compared to the previous wave of research, attitudes towards this indicator are rather preserved and seem even more critical. The next edition of the study – in a few months – will show whether 2022 has brought a change in these principled attitudes, according to Gallup.
By comparison, an average of 42% of those surveyed worldwide are more likely to agree or strongly agree that their country is governed by the will of the people. However, more than half of the world’s respondents do not consider their government to be democratic enough. The share of those who cannot judge whether their country is governed democratically is minimal.
Bulgaria (77 percent) together with Romania (80 percent) Colombia and Nigeria (76% in both countries) and Ukraine (73%) are among the most critical of democratic governance in their countries. The data are from the time before the war.
Are elections “free and fair“?
When asked if they think the elections in the country are free and fair, 22% of respondents said yes. 65% are of the opposite opinion.
Just over half of those surveyed around the world believe that elections in their country are free and fair. 43% are of the opposite opinion, and 5% cannot form an opinion.
People in Ghana (85% there agree or strongly agree that elections are free and fair), Azerbaijan (78%), Indonesia and Vietnam (77% in both), Kosovo (76%) and the Czech Republic (75%). are the most satisfied with the freedom and fairness of elections in their country.
People in Bosnia and Herzegovina (90% disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that elections are free and fair), Nigeria (82%), Albania (70%), Colombia (67%), Bulgaria, Iraq, and Romania (65%) in each of the countries) are most concerned about the elections in their country. Paradoxically, in Russia, skeptics of the fairness of the election are 59 percent, i.e. there the percentage is lower than in Bulgaria.
Thus, according to both indicators, our country is rather at the bottom of the ranking of 45 countries, expressing dissatisfaction with both the main mechanism of representation in democracies (elections) and the very principled nature of the exercise of power in Bulgaria.
However, the attitude towards the conduct of elections in our country is more negative against the background of the EU as a whole, and the countries of the eastern part of the Union, which are usually close to our attitudes.
The three consecutive parliamentary elections in our country last year, accompanied by several changes in the electoral code, probably had an additional impact on the negative attitudes in our country, according to the agency.
This year 13% of Bulgarians believe that we live in conditions of strong democracy, for 12% our country does not meet one of the conditions for democracy, and nearly two-thirds find the level of democracy in our country weak.
In the ranking of countries according to the so-called “Gallup People’s Index”, which combines the results of the two indicators – “governance according to the will of the people” and “fair and free elections”, Bulgaria has one of the weakest positions.
It is among the countries with the highest levels of negativity, in the company of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Romania, Colombia, Russia and Thailand.
According to the Index, 34% of respondents around the world find that they live in a strong democracy – the voice of the people there is perceived as strong. i.e. many agree at the same time that their country is governed by the will of the people and that elections are free and fair. 35% of those surveyed around the world live in a weak democracy – where, according to public perception, neither elections are fair nor the government is perceived as democratic, i.e. the voice of the people is weak. A quarter of the respondents live in a country where at least one of the conditions for a strong democracy has not been met, i.e. the status is mixed.